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McCain Again Steps Away From Bush

Republican presidential candidate Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) walks on a trail near the Cedar River Shoreline with Ralph Naess, public and cultural programs manager, right, and Doug Sutherland, Washington Commissioner of Public Lands, second from left, May 13, 2008, in North Bend, Wash. (Associated Press)

By Juliet Eilperin
NORTH BEND, Wash. -- Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) continued to tout his green credentials this morning, telling reporters, "I will be a president of the United States."

For the second day in a row, McCain took pains to distance himself from President Bush on the question of climate change, saying "there's a long-standing, significant, deep disagreement between myself and the administration on this issue."

McCain argued he would press for an international climate pact in order to curb the world's greenhouse gas emissions. "I will lead, I will lead this nation and the world, and we will address climate change," he said. "America will lead, and not obstruct."

McCain's climate proposal is more modest than that of either Sen. Barack Obama (D-Ill.) or Sen. Hillary Clinton (D-N.Y.): He would cut U.S. greenhouse gases 60 percent, compared with 1990 levels, by 2050 rather than the 80 percent they've proposed, and he would give polluters free emissions credits at first, rather than make them pay through an auction, which is what Obama and Clinton favor. Still, McCain argued that voters would back his approach because it's more pragmatic.

"My proposal is doable. My proposal will ensure we will have economic growth as well as protection of the environment," he said. "People will trust my stewardship, not only because of my background and knowledge, but because of my vision for the future."

McCain also briefly commented on the Rev. John Hagee's apology to Catholic Church leaders, saying that while he did not orchestrate the apology he welcomed it. "The fact that he's made an apology is very helpful," he said. "That's the kind of reconciliation for many, many years."

While in North Bend, McCain also met with environmental and corporate leaders in the Cedar Watershed Public Education Center.

As the rain poured down outside, McCain asked a group that included an outdoor goods manufacturer, Eagle Scout and fruit grower about what policies he should adopt in order to curb climate change and protect valuable ecosystems.

None of the ideas were new: Sally Jewel, REI's president and CEO, said her business would welcome tax incentives for using solar and wind energy while Chris Bayley, the head of a market-based conservative group, urged McCain to shift federal environmental policy "from a regulatory paradigm to a land owner-based voluntary and cooperative paradigm" by giving farmers financial incentives to conserve private land.

The presumptive GOP nominee expressed a willingness to support these market-based initiatives, saying his travels around the world had convinced him global warming poses a major threat to the environment.

"I've actually traveled and seen with my own eyes, and these are the miners' canaries, the miners' canaries that tell us what's happening to the planet," he said. "Do I have some passion about it? Yes, yes, I have some passion."

For the most part, McCain and the panelists spoke about anecdotes that highlighted the ways they were working to improve the environment. Will Mentor, a high school senior and Eagle Scout who has worked on a local environmental restoration project, recalled how planting native plants in area streams inspired his fellow Boy Scouts. If policymakers don't tackle climate change, Mentor said, "it has the potential to destroy a lot of things that we as Northwesterners hold very dear to us."

The senator lauded the scout's effort, saying, "Every chance you get, plant another tree. Every chance that you get."

After the roundtable McCain took a walk amidst a steady rain, as photographers and cameramen recorded his visit of the Cedar River Watershed. Ralph Naess, the Seattle Public Utilities public and cultural programs manager, and Doug Sutherland, Washington Commissioner of Public Lands, accompanied McCain on the tour.

As McCain -- sporting jeans, a fleece, a rain jacket and sneakers -- walked over the Masonry Dam, Naess explained how city officials originally built the dam in 1915 in order to generate electricity.

"They weren't worried about drinking water; there were only 50,000 people here," Naess said.

Now the dam maintains a drinking reservoir for Seattle, Naess added, and it is a haven for wildlife such as bald eagles and osprey.

The two men discussed how global warming has shrunk the area's snowpack, which is in turn affecting the city's water supply. While the region enjoyed a big snowfall this year, Naess said, "the long term trend's downhill.

After walking the span of the dam, the group headed to the beach overlooking Chester Morris Lake. McCain and his guides, walking by scattered driftwood, walked to the edge of the lake and as the senator passed the assembled press corps, he waved.

Afterwards, McCain, Naess and Sutherland went on a brief nature walk in the woods that lasted a matter of minutes.

By Web Politics Editor  |  May 13, 2008; 6:37 PM ET
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It's not McWar's braine that is's ours, the voter's braines that are fried. Mcwar posing as a Green President??? What's green about a 100 year war in the mid east? What's green about bombing Irann? raping the earth and the environment has suddenly become "GREEN" (Did I miss something??? Timone screamed Lion King). You want more of the Bush (Bring-Em-On-Bush) disaster, then McWar is your candidate!

Posted by: Rasputyn | May 14, 2008 2:30 PM | Report abuse

I'm RAMBO! Bet I could roll in some mud, stick ferns all over me and easily ambush these Secret Service Dudes!

Yeah! I'll just wait until I get around this next Tree, pretend they are Gooks, and escape them like I should have back in '68!

Rambo! Yeah! That's me!

I'll lie in wait and wait for "Barry" to come by!

I just hope he does it during the Day!

Wait!, where's my Knive?

Posted by: McCain's Brain ;-) | May 14, 2008 11:11 AM | Report abuse

He needs to distance himself from Bush, but doesn't really disagree with Bush on anything. So he compromises on the one area he cares least about: the environment.

Tony Blair pioneered the model McCain is following: Green warmonger.

McCain's plan to counteract global warming:- Nuclear winter.

Posted by: Bourassa | May 13, 2008 9:48 PM | Report abuse

Could Senator McCain explain why he has missed more votes (59.2%) in the 110th Congress than anyone else except 2 House members who died and missed even more votes than a Senator who suffered from a brain hemorrage? Is he still collecting his Senatorial paycheck? Don't most people wish they could work only 60% of the time and still get paid. He has voted on one vote since March 13th? Everyone else still running has managed to do their House and Senate duties.

Posted by: ck | May 13, 2008 9:10 PM | Report abuse

He has trouble making lucid sentences.

"I will be a president of the United States."

he said. "That's the kind of reconciliation for many, many years."

I don't believe America could handle another retarded President.

Wake The F up People!!!

Posted by: PV | May 13, 2008 9:06 PM | Report abuse

..."No no no, Mccain, nice try just like a republican/rat to runaway from the "LOCKSTEP" voting record with "BLEW IT BUSH" all along, and NOW LIKE A GOOD RAT he wants to RUNAWAY" sorry, its way way too late for that RAT!

In conclusion, "Democrats/American's know McCain was "LOCKSTEP all the way, with "Republicans/Blew it Bush, as he drove America's economy/image into the GROUND" and now like a good rat he's running away from it as fast as he can, my, my, my, too late for that/rat!

I guess too old 71 year old Millionare McCain, thinks America won't remember him voting against the New G.I. Bill whom he sent to Iraq and Afganistan, he sends them then votes down help for them, just like a good republican, then he votes down expanding Health Care for Kids of the Working PoOr...

Boy these republicans sure do take the care and all they can steal, hoping America won't remember the record, hopeing America will vote republican again, "Be sure now YOU RUN and Vote for another Republican/Millionare whom I'm sure feels your pain!

Boy have the republicans RUINED America and now this one is trying his best to RUN AWAY!

Posted by: Tom Birchfield | May 13, 2008 8:57 PM | Report abuse

McBush is nothing but a clone of G Bush. Vote O'Bama!

Posted by: John McCreep | May 13, 2008 8:56 PM | Report abuse

I'm glad he's pretending to support some environmental issues. It would be good to get back to some semblance of bi-partisan consensus on these issues again.

Nevertheless, he has a long road to travel before he will even be competitive in the Pacific Northwest. Obama is a much stronger candidate here than Clinton and will be very hard to beat.

McCain also threatens his Bush-supporter Republican base with this apostasy. Our local wacko Rush Limbaugh radio jock clone - a guy named Lars Larson - was furious with McCain for his enviro press conference yesterday, saying, he'd "never vote for him."

McCain is damned if you do, damned if you don't. This is going to be a good year for Democrats.

Posted by: Chuck | May 13, 2008 8:54 PM | Report abuse

McCain...the other Bush meat.

Did you know that many in the Bush Administration have been charged with war crimes? Read it now!

Just what we want...more of the same!

Posted by: MsJoanne | May 13, 2008 8:36 PM | Report abuse

Let's get real John mcCain. Run away as far as you can from that current idiot in the White House. Is ideas are atrocious. When you were a prisoner of war you apparently lost your common sense. You got shafted but good last time around by the current nutmeg but you want more? Are you kidding?

Posted by: gac12 | May 13, 2008 8:35 PM | Report abuse

The only reason that John McCain is feigning a "distance between himself and Bush" is because he figured out that the electorate doesn't like it. More than a boon to his already lagging campaign, this should serve as a lesson to the voters that John McCain will abandon anyone or any issue that makes him look bad, and will align himself with any cause that he thinks will get him a vote. He is another political poser.

Posted by: Kevin Morgan | May 13, 2008 8:28 PM | Report abuse

I read the comments here and think that any hope of a workable Environmental Policy is doomed. Not because of Washington, but because of the slack-jaw partisans on both sides of the debate who throw gasoline on the politics of destruction. I'll say this for the Republicans - at least they've been humbled by a failed president. The most obnoxious are the Obama supporters who claim "change" and "hope" and then say the most knee-jerk and rude things about anyone with whom they don't agree. This isn't change - it's just hype.

Posted by: WJS | May 13, 2008 8:05 PM | Report abuse

Where is the Wild Bear in the Woods,

When you WANT HIM?!

Posted by: RAT-The | May 13, 2008 8:02 PM | Report abuse

To little, too late my friend. Embracing the man who you wouldn't vote for, who you called 'dangerous', who did you wrong in the 2000 primary, is NOT a sign of character. It's the sign of a politician with no principles except those he needs to wear in order to get elected. It's the sign of a psychologically damaged man with Stockholm syndrome. Identify with your tormentors in order to survive captivity. Not, my friend, the characteristics of a President of The United States.

Posted by: thebob.bob | May 13, 2008 8:00 PM | Report abuse

Hi. I voted in step with George W Bush's policies nearly 95 percent of the time last year.


John McCain

Posted by: Anonymous | May 13, 2008 7:57 PM | Report abuse

Please do not tout McCain as an environmentalist:

He's a half-hearted opportunist at best.

I'd like to see the WaPo publish another article on how McCain agrees with almost 99% of Bush's policies -- his tax cuts for the rich, his shoddy privitized health care plan, and his misdirected war.

Because really -- this is about another 4 years of Bush. Your voters and your readers deserve to know that.

Posted by: jchan | May 13, 2008 7:52 PM | Report abuse

Republicans know every new candidate will be a new President with his own agenda, Republicans are not the butt grabbing leaches the dems would be, same agenda time after time and nothing changes except for one policy change this time, comprehensive immigration reform will turn America dems must feel proud.

Posted by: Dwight | May 13, 2008 7:30 PM | Report abuse

More like McCain is stepped over Bush's dead body. Too bad he's not stepping away from the insane policies than have greatly damaged this great nation.

ReFUDlicans only want to get in to office to enrich themselves, spend money on unneeded wars, break laws that they don't feel should apply to them, and continue their immoral "Family Values in Hell".

Posted by: Franky | May 13, 2008 7:26 PM | Report abuse

JakeD-If the question was whether I agreed with that, No I don't.

Truth, McSame and Billary should be on the same Ticket, just NOT the Republican Ticket.

It could/Should be called possibly the "RINO Party", or the "11% Approval Senator Party"!

What I was saying, is there is plenty of time for Conservatives to rally and compete with O'Bomba-Nation and Bill "The Anchor Baby" Richardson. ;~)

Posted by: RAT-The | May 13, 2008 7:22 PM | Report abuse


You didn't answer my question.

Posted by: JakeD | May 13, 2008 7:01 PM | Report abuse

Right, so with regard to the economy: same as Bush
health care: same as Bush
Iraq: same as Bush
Environment: less effective than his rivals.

Good luck with that, Mr. American President for America lol.

Posted by: Paul | May 13, 2008 6:59 PM | Report abuse

Hmmm, Rest of May,





And all of October.

Yep, there is still a little time!

Barry "Blew Up" from only February to April!

IF, the GOP does not Ditch McSame Quick however, we are going to wind up with said Baggage Carrying, Socialist, un-qualified "Empty Suit" for President!

McAmnesty's Pandering to La Raza has alienated ME, and Bill Richardson WILL grab all the Invasarios for O'Bomba-Nation!

Then, did YOU see the Article about Groups Assimilating? Seems our Closest Neighbor with the Most Invaders is NOT!

Wonder why? ;~)

Posted by: RAT-The | May 13, 2008 6:59 PM | Report abuse

What a joke. McCain the "Green President" that like "Compassionate Conservative"...or "Clean Coal"?

Posted by: A.Lincoln | May 13, 2008 6:57 PM | Report abuse


You realize that Mitt and Mike have even LESS chance of becoming the Republican nominee than Hillary, right?

Posted by: JakeD | May 13, 2008 6:48 PM | Report abuse


Not in this Lifetime.

We should be preparing for the COOL DOWN!

NOT, Crippling our Industry at a time China is already laying us out!

Ahem, Anyone like M&M's?

As in Mitt & Mike? ;~)

Posted by: RAT-The | May 13, 2008 6:46 PM | Report abuse

Yet ANOTHER area of difference with President Bush. Keep 'em coming, John SIDNEY McCain!!!

Posted by: JakeD | May 13, 2008 6:45 PM | Report abuse

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